Inexpensive Housing

May 7th 2016

Guide to Saving Money While Renting a Home

If you're looking for a cheap house to rent, your first option is to find an area with a low cost of living. You can find houses for as low as $75,000 in Mississippi. That's the price of an expensive car. Expect to pay at least five times as much if you live in Los Angeles.

If you're looking to live in Tuscaloosa, Georgia, you could rent an entire 2 bedroom house with a yard and bathroom for $600 per month. In Los Angeles, a studio apartment can cost almost three times as much. You should never expect to find housing that costs so little in an expensive area. If you see an ad, it's probably too good to be true, and there's probably something very wrong with the house.

Luckily, in places with a higher cost of living, incomes tend to be higher. You're likely making more money in Los Angeles, CA than you would in Tuscaloosa, GA. Unfortunately, higher salaries aren't always high enough. Many people just can't afford to live in nice houses or even apartments. It's recommended that a person budget one-fourth of their salary on living expenses. A person making $2,400 per month (after tax) should not spend more than $600 on rent. Where in the world can you live on that kind of budget, especially if you're living in a place in Los Angeles? Not all of us can pick up and move to Tuscaloosa, Georgia.

Buying vs. Renting

In general, it's a better investment to buy rather than rent. Mortgages can be the same or lower than a rent payment depending on your financing options. In any case, some people aren't ready to own a home, and others just prefer to rent. If you have bad credit, you should rent. If you're looking to live in a cheap house and keep your monthly payments low, you should rent. Cheap houses need a lot of investment. When you rent, your landlord is responsible for things like plumbing and maintenance. When you own, you're responsible for everything. If something in your inexpensive home breaks down, you could end up paying thousands, depending on whether you rent or own. When you rent, you're at a disadvantage. You're not making a long-term investment, and you can't make any modifications to your home. Your landlord might also be able to evict you. If you're on the fence, take some time to determine what you can realistically afford.

Guide to Finding Cheap Houses and Rent

Living out of your expensive car (or cardboard box) is not an option. Follow this guide if you're on a housing budget:

1) Plan exactly how much you are willing to spend on rent. Pick a number for what you would like to spend, and pick a number for how much you would be willing to spend. The second number will be higher. Aim to find housing in the price range of your choice, and spend a little more if you find a place that's absolutely perfect. Ultimately, you want to be happy where you end up.

2) Decide whether you would like to live in a house or apartment. Your decision depends on what you can realistically afford. Do you need a yard? Do you need a personal garage? Can you afford these things? If you need something that you can't afford, you probably need to make some serious lifestyle changes. In any case, you might notice that nowadays, houses and apartments can cost about the same. Decide what you want to do with your space and how much space you need before looking for housing. After all, you don't want to get more space than you need. You might end up wasting money.

3) Live with a roommate. If you're young or single, you surely don't need an entire space to yourself. It's possible to maintain your privacy and sanity while living with someone else. If you're worried about safety, conduct roommate background checks, or live with someone that you know. Keep valuables in a storage unit or bank offsite, and keep a lock on your door. If you share items, don't buy anything expensive.

4) Rent a room in a house. Even in the most expensive areas, it's possible to rent a room in a house for $600 or less. Find roommates who you enjoy living with, and have fun. You won't even need to find a cheap house for rent. If you live in an expensive house with a lot of people, you won't need to spend a whole lot. Consider sharing a bedroom if you want to save even more money.

5) Make sure that your cheap house or apartment stays cheap. Especially if you're renting a room, make sure that you and your landlord sign a lease. Pay special attention to lease termination agreements. If you lock yourself into a lease, you may be required to pay for the full term, even if you need to move out early. These policies vary by state. Keep your rent cheap and fair by knowing the rental laws where you live.

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